A senate stand-off over an investigation into Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s management of state government has delayed the expected conclusion of the 2014 legislative session.
Senate Democrats plan to pass a resolution giving the Senate Oversight Committee the power to subpoena witnesses for their investigation. Senate Republicans object and after a few hours of stalemate early this morning, Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal moved to adjourn the senate shortly before 8 a.m. and return tomorrow morning at eight o’clock to debate the issue.
“We do not intend to give up,” Gronstal said earlier this morning.
Gronstal said legislators don’t yet know the answer to the “most basic question” of who in state government authorized the payment of “hush money” to buy the silence of laid-off state employees.
“We think it seems pretty shaky what’s going on in state government,” Gronstal told reporters at about 6:30 this morning. “We think Iowans deserve an answer to that.”
Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix suggests the investigation of Branstad’s actions is meant to help the Democrat who is challenging Branstad’s 2014 bid for a sixth term as governor.
“It’s just a continued effort to, you know, follow the orders of the union bosses and launch the campaign of Jack Hatch for governor,” Dix said.
Dix accuses Democrats of springing this subpoena proposal on Republicans at the last minute.
“Somehow along the way, Democrats lost their way,” Dix told reporters at about 7:15 this morning. “They decided to favor grandstanding over governing.”
Republicans in the House left the statehouse shortly before six o’clock this morning , concluding their work for the 2014 legislative session. All aspects of the state budget plan have been endorsed by both the House and Senate. The only thing remaining for senators to resolve is this issue about subpoena power for the Senate Oversight Committee.
(This posted was updated at 8:05 a.m. with additional information.)